In 2016, Varun Aditya won the prestigious National’s Geography’s Nature Photographer of the Year contest and there has been no turning back since then. In his latest account to the Humans of Bombay, the Coimbatore born wildlife photographer and environmentalist talks about his journey from being a 'defaulter' to a globally acclaimed photographer. Recalling his childhood, Aditya said that he was 12 year of age, he used to stare at photographs in encyclopedias and picture himself in all those locations. Describing his school life as a ‘painful experience he added that he was slow learner which made him under-confident. However, his parents were supportive and never asked him for 'X marks'. He also recalled a trip to Shimla where his father asked him if he wanted to be a bird watcher.
He then recalled that he wanted to buy a DSLR in 2011, when "they were in a rage". He said that he skipped meals, saved money and with a bit of help from his parents, he got the camera. "That day, I visited parks all over London. I felt such a rush–I hardly went to Uni after that", he said.
Talking about his first public sharing of photographs he said that one day, he randomly uploaded his photographs on Facebook, which received 10 likes. He recalled that those likes meant a lot for him as he had never been appreciated in his life. Therefore, the little bit of motivation that he received prompted him to upload more and more pictures.
After completing his MBA, he wanted to pursue wildlife photography but his parents were unsure of it as it was an expensive field. However, he kept at it and in 2013 won a small Nat Geo contest and won a trip to Panama with photographer Michael Melford. Describing a stunning incident from the rip, he said "On the flight back, he said, 'What’s that focus point thing you were talking about?’ I was shocked! A legendary photographer was asking me for notes?" Following which, his parents started supporting his career choice and took a loan for him which he is still paying them. He also described his experience in Finland where he lived in a 6 feet cabin and froze to -10 degrees.
He concluded his account by recalling, "Later in 2016, when I won the Nat Geo Photograph of the Year, I got the confidence to teach. My Instagram account had taken off by then & I landed several projects. For me, it's never been about the money. I just wanted to make the world fall in love with nature the way I had. & looking back, I’m happy I didn’t let those labels define me. After all, some birds just aren’t meant to be caged.”
(All Image credits: Varun Aditya/Instagram)